Today’s question is from Megan:
I’m not sure if I can ask a reader question on your board or not, but my husband and I are thinking about having a second child. My little girl is 4 years old now and we think it is finally time. I am wanting to be able to leave my teaching job to stay home with the kids. What are the best ways to save money & prepare for all of these changes ahead of time? I already coupon & we have been using Netflix instead of cable for 6 months now. Thanks so much for your help! -Megan
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I found a great older book that was very helpful on preparing to quit. It is by Larry Burkett and is called “Women leaving the Workforce”.
I found a great older book that was very helpful on preparing to quit. It is by Larry Burkett and is called Women leaving the Workforce.
I was also a teacher who returned to work after my daughter was born. She’s now three and this year, I resigned from my teaching position to stay home with her. I just couldn’t do it anymore. Anyway, as a teacher, you might find tutor.com helpful as a way to make a little extra money on the side. I’ve been working for them since May and it’s been fabulous. If you want more information, let me know!
Another way to save money when it comes to TV entertainment, is to purchase ROKU. It’s like satelite, but it is streamed from your highspeed internet or wifi. You can get two different boxes, the larger being around 75. It is only a one time fee for the box, and as long as you have the internet, you have updated episodes and movies. It’s completely legal, so you’re not “stealing” satelite service. It can be purchased at Wal Mart. The price of the box is less than one month cost of Dish Network. If you already have the internet, you can save anywhere from 40-120 each month, based on what you pay for cable or satelite. The only downside is local channels aren’t offered. We have weather alerts sent to our phones and emails from our local news and radio channels just in case. There is also “netflix channel”. It is something worth looking into! Hope this helps!
Also, find a few things to make extra cash. If you have a hobby, use it to help with extra expenses or things you don’t want to spend your budgeted money on. If you homeschool, bring another child in that’s the same age as your children. Many parents would love the opportunity for their child to be homeschooled, but they cannot afford to quit work. This would give you a little extra, give the kids someone to enjoy being with and learning with, and also helping out another family.
When we first got married-late in life- we knew we wanted to have kids and have me stay at home so from the very beginning we lived on his salary. Start now and live only on your husbands salary this will really highlight where you need to cut back and give you an emergency fund. The second rule we had was to save up and buy whatever with cash. Make that a hard and fast rule because you will be tempted with all the 0% interest and buy now pay in 2 years schemes. Enjoy this season of your life, my guys are in their teens and I am back to work part time but have such fond memories of their younger days.
I am a new stay at home mom with my 3 mos old daughter. We decided last year when I got pregnant that we would adjust our budget to live on my husband’s income. We needed my salary to save for baby and to pay down a huge chunk of our student loan debt. Our budget was tight but it was so worth it to get into the groove before baby. That is my biggest piece of advice–find a way to live on your husband’s income as soon as possible. Looking back, I’m so grateful that I worked ‘to the end’ (though, believe me, I wanted to quit when I was 4 mos along! :)) because we now have a cushion if my husband needs to look for another job.
Blessings on your pregnancy and this new journey ahead!
Jen @ ThisCrunchyLife says
There are a lot of tips and tricks mentioned in the comments. At the end of the day, it comes down to being content with less, which takes an adjustment. Personally, I’ve found that frugal friends, less tv and media, and frugal blogs helps a whole lot. I also find that browsing catalogs or magazines or going into shops only makes me want to spend! I’ve been at home full time for less than 2 years and I’m still adjusting! But, all the adjustment has helped me development much more enjoyment and gratitude for all of the things I do have.
I resigned from my position in the nursing profession so that I could be a stay at home mom. One of the biggest things I think will help you is to stop and think about what you are spending money on. Before purchasing something, ask yourself if buying it will allow you to stay at home with your children.
jessica ramirez says
i think if you make a budget you can me and my husband made a bug=dget now waiting for god to bless us.. its hard to save but well worth it.. god bless
Call of your utilities and shop for cheaper plans. You might be surpised that since you signed up for your phone plan, that it has since been discounted. They will give you the lower price if you ask for it. Shop in thrift stores and at yard sales. You can get name brand clothes all of the time in thrift stores–I’m talking 9 West shoes, Lands End coats, and more. Do not shop unless you have to shop–never walk into a store just because you feel like getting out of the house. We live in a rural area in the north, and occasionally get cabin fever in the winter. Find outdoor hobbies, rather than going to the movies or the mall to satisfy your need for getting out of the house. Start a playgroup with other friends, and trade needed items back and forth between each other. Don’t let the kids talk you into impulse purchases. As they get older, this becomes more and more difficult to do, but stick to your guns. Don’t waste money on “air”–meaning apps, cell phone/texting plans, downloadable music and books, etc. It’s very easy to lose a lot of money this way. Use your library for movies and books. Use Red Box and netflix and look for discount codes in your Red Box receipts for the next time. My library even gives away magazines regularly. Hold your own yard sales, if you live in a location where this is possible. You can easily earn $500-1,000 in a weekend with one. Make your own laundry detergent. Use wash cloths instead of baby wipes. I kept a bucket full of soapy water next to the changing table–I’d toss them in after. When it was full, I’d drain out the icky water into the toilet, and toss them into the washer with soap and bleach. Worked great. This helps with avoiding rashes also. Avoid eating out when feeling stressed or in a pinch–this gets harder when the kids get older and into sports, but packing snacks and meals for after school events is so much cheaper and healthier. This does require meal planning–which is key to saving money. Drive your car until it dies, and don’t drive a lot–plan your outings well so you can make fewer trips. The biggest thing is not letting yourself or your kids get pulled into wanting things because everyone else has them. If you start with the kids at a young age, they will go along with it much easier. My 13 year old loves shopping at thrift stores, and despises paying full price for CDs or jeans. Both kids love finding treasures at yard sales. Make sure you have your 6 month emergency savings set aside before you quit, and then take the leap. I think you will find out it is easier than you think. There is no true security in life whether you have a job or whether you don’t. You could have a job today and lose it tomorrow. As long as you have your savings in place, you won’t have to worry either way. If you have the will, you can learn to not spend outside your means once you truly realize it can’t be replaced. We have more money now that I do not work because I don’t spend money on things I can do myself. I now have time to cook, bargain shop, coupon, clean my house, make my detergent, garden, etc. I enjoy life a lot more now that I have “less” money than I did whan I had “more”.
I realize quitting your job to stay home and live on one income is frightening. However, it’s not an impossible lifestyle. Many people do it everyday. There are many families where both parents work but their income is still much lower than the national average. There are familes where only one adult has a paying job or families with only one adult who live well on one income. Can you maintain the same lifestyle on one income as you probably do with two? Not likely. Does this mean you can’t have a happy life/marriage/home? No! Does this mean you can’t have an attractive and nice home? Again, No!
My husband and I have been married for many years. We are happy, fun loving people who totally enjoy our lives. We take vacations, usually a trip to the beach in the summer with the children and one or two overnight trips per year with just the two of us sans the kiddles. We have a large home, approximately 5,000 square feet, a couple of dogs, four cats and twelve children. We live debt free. Other than two or three short lived part time jobs, I have never worked outside the home. And least you think my husband has a fabulous job with a huge paycheck, let me tell you now that is not the case. My husband works in construction.
Our two oldest children are grown and on their own while we have 10 children still at home. The oldest is 13 and the three youngest are 4. We were able to send our two oldest away to college and neither they nor us borrowed any money for their education. Both our children have master’s degrees and our daughter has her CPA as well.
I say all this not to brag, but to encourage. It is just a way of life. Neither my husband nor myself live extravagantly. We don’t drive fancy automobiles and yet we get to where we are going safely. He has a pay as you go cell phone only so I can get in touch with him when he is at work. I don’t have a cell phone. I rarely need one. My children don’t have cell phones either. (If the President needs to get in touch with them over matters of national security, he will just have to wait until they get home. 🙂 Our children have way too many clothes and toys as do most American children. We do most of the home improvement /home maintenance projects ourselves. Since 10 of our children are adopted, we celebrate Family Adoption Day in a big way but do small family birthday celebrations. My husband or I cook dinner at home most every night. If are out and about and need to eat we go through the drive-thru for dollar burgers or chicken nuggets and fries to go with the drink boxes I bring from home. We rarely go out to eat in a restaurant and honestly we don’t miss it.
I coupon. We stockpile. Our children play community league sports. We visit the library. We go to the splashpad. We raise a garden. We buy a whole beef and have it butchered. We go to church. We tithe. We gladly accept hand-me-downs as well as give them. We don’t try to keep up with the Jones’. My children wear name brand shoes and I buy them new clothes for special occasions and if the need arises. Otherwise, I plan ahead and shop consignment sales and clearance racks. This is not to say we don’t have nice things. Our children have electronics, DSi’s, Kindle Fires, etc. I have my Ipad and my expensive camera. We saved for them, paid cash and most of them we gave as Christmas gifts to our children.
All of this I write to say, “It is possible.” You might have to adjust your standard of living and your mindset but, if you want it badly enough, you can do it, and do it easier than you think. Go for it! Enjoy the adventure! Life is good….even on a budget.
I’m sure some of what I’m about to say has been said but here’s my two cents worth.
Budget to have the baby. When we found out we were expecting we totalled up all the doctors costs, hospital costs etc…and by the time I was about 5 mo pregnant we had saved to pay all the bills! What a relief it was to know where that money would come from.
We also bought (and recieved) a lot of clothes in varying sizes. I am still, at age 2, dressing my daughter in clothes we bought/recieved before she was born. We shop in advance for as many needs as possible. You’ll be lucky b/c you’re likely to have a lot already since this is #2.
We put everything away we could. I shopped well in advance for wipes and other baby paraphanalia. I put away lots of canned and dry goods as well.
My last piece of advice is to be realistic. Can you quit, can you live on less than you do with the addition. I think that having more kids needs to be as much of a brain decision as a heart one. This idea is not popular I realize, but it’s what I believe. If you can’t live on less think about things you can do to bring in cash while still staying home. I run an Etsy shop and sell at craft fairs and craigslist to bring in some spending money and to give me a little sanity!
Read Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace and then follow the baby steps. Then make friends with other frugal stay at home moms in your area. It is so much easier when your friends are like-minded in regard to finances. Not only can you avoid feeling like a cheep-o you, they may already know about all the free and inexpensive bonuses your area has to offer.
As a stay-at-home mom – stay at home! Unless you do online shopping, staying home means no money spent. There are those days when you do just need to get of the house though. Check out what your town has to offer for free entertainment for your kids. I take my 3 & 4 year old to the small, free admission zoo, a kid’s playroom in a local museum (also free) and the playground at the park. Get together with your friends in your houses rather than going out to eat. Your kids can play together while you chat and you can serve a simple lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches.
These are smaller ideas than a lot of what’s been posted, but if you have a spare afternoon here and there they’re worth looking into.
Consider making homemade versions of household cleaners (lots of recipes online).
Think about reducing the number of toiletries and make-up you currently use. For example, could you and your husband share an unscented bar soap instead of separate his- and hers- bodywashes? If you’re tired of your lipstick colors, could you blend two together instead of buying a new shade?
See if there are any disposables you could replace with reusables — durable food containers instead of foil and ziplock bags; cutting up old tee shirts or flannel pajamas to use as washable tissues and cotton rounds (for removing make-up, etc.); washable cotton fleece pantyliners and nursing pads. Again there are lots of ideas online, plus patterns and tutorials for making items. If the cloth items are small enough, you can add them to washes you already do rather than having to do extra laundry.
I agree with stocking up when you see good deals on baby supplies. Also I’d suggest checking the secondhand stores in your area in advance to see whether their prices and quality are acceptable (seems to vary a lot by location), especially for baby and toddler clothing. If not, you’ll have extra time to find other low-cost sources.
Lots of saving tips…but do you want to stay home? If you do, then it will be easier to deny yourself, spend less, and still be content. If you don’t really want to (which is fine if you don’t) then keep working. I’m in a position where I could make way more working full time and have extra cash but I enjoy being at home. I work part time to help save for our house and I do stuff like cloth diaper and cook from scratch because I want to. I think that your attitude will make the biggest difference.
I want answers to this, too. We’ve done the math, and there’s no way we’d make it on hubby’s income alone. I’m seriously pursuing work-from-home options, but it isn’t easy with an infant on the way. Most work at home places have a Zero Tolerance noise policy if you’re on the phones. That won’t work if hubby’s out of the house and I have a colicky baby.
I seriously hope you find answers. I’ve been digging for months and have yet to find a thing.
I work at home, and yes I still need to use child care because I can’t have noise and my kid isn’t going to nap 40 hours a week. However, work at home options are still great for a Mom with small kids so keep looking into it. It helps you out so much with expenses even if you are paying for childcare. Plus, you still have more time with your family and to do things like have dinner on the table when your hubby and kids get home. As the kids get older, you can transition to having them home with you more. My daughter has been at daycare but when she starts kindergarden she will be home with me after school. She is old enough now that its not a concern.
Thanks, hon. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if I actually HAD someone to watch the baby. My mom has her hands full with my sister’s special needs daughter. My dad… is a recovering drug addict and it’s probably best I not leave him in charge of an infant, either. Most of my church friends have jobs outside the home themselves, so asking them is moot.
It’s particularly complicated since hubby and I work nights. If I have to keep working my current job, who wants to watch a baby from 2 PM to 1 AM? My ideal would be to continue doing the job I have now, but from home. Everything I do is web based, so logistically, there’s no reason why I can’t keep doing what I’m doing. It all comes down to PERMISSION. My boss really likes my work and is trying to pull strings to let me do this from home. But the client we work for (an international computer company) is very security conscious, and we’re not sure if they’d let me. I’m praying they do let me, because that’s kinda my one last hope at the moment.
My husband and I were both teachers (he still is) but now I stay home with our kids. When I was working, we lived as much as we could off of his income only and saved mine. When I quit, we were already used the lifestyle of a one-income family and had a decent amount of money in savings to help pay for all of the extras! I also tutor a couple hours a week in the evenings (I was a high school math teacher) so that helps give us a little extra too.
Hope that helps!
I was going to suggest looking into tutoring. I taught for six years then was a nanny for a year with my first. I now stay at home with my 18 month old and 1 month old. I use the tutoring website, wyzant. You can search and find local and national sites. Some are in-home and some online. Depending on what you are licensed in you can make $15-50 an hour. Subjects like physics and chemistry pay more than elementary. It won’t replace your teaching income, but it will help and it keeps you “in the field”. A few things I’ve learned: Consider your preparation time and travel time when setting your price. Websites usually take a percentage, but they also take care of payment automatically. Busy times for tutoring are usually after report cards come out, before midterms/final exams, and in the summer. The first couple months of school are usually slow. Good luck!
I would try very hard to live on only your dh’s income (aside from childcare expenses if you must). This way you can put a lot of money into the bank and see if you can make it work. Also, I would try to save for any needs that you are anticipating – such as a new roof or car. I have a savings account set up that I have “mini” accounts in. I save for things like car repairs, pet expenses, vacation, car insurance, household repairs, etc. I would also beef up these type of accounts to give yourself some added cushion. Good luck!
Make up a new budget for the amount that you will be living on when you quit. Start operating off of this one-income budget now. It’ll allow you to get a better feel for what you’ll be working with and should allow you to save up your income over the next few months for an emergency fund, to beef up savings, or pay down debt. This will also help you to identify areas in which you might struggle to stay within budget. If you find yourself overspending on food, then start learning how to hone skills that will help you in that area (freezer cooking, meal planning, couponing, etc.). If entertainment is your budget buster, then focus on cheap or free activities.
The financial sacrifices will be well worth getting to stay at home with your littles!
Kelly: Did I just read your post right??? You breastfeed your adult son who is 24yrs old and still pumping at the age of 52? That is outrageous!!!!
I read that earlier and almost spit out my tea because I was laughing so hard. I’m guessing she was joking??
Or maybe she left her computer on and her husband thought it would be funny to post that! 🙂
I actually read that comment earlier and came back to see if anyone said anything. I thought it must be a joke, and now I don’t see her comment at all anymore….
Kate SDDS says
we learned about free things to do in our city (San Diego) – got serious about coupons and thrifting and paid off all our debts (except the mortgage) – i would much rather drive an older car than keep my job simply to afford the car payments! we make a lot of food from scratch and also joined a small community garden where we get more than 1/2 of our produce! We now have 3 kids and our budget has gotten bigger (school supplies, clothes, soccer league, oh the food bill as our boy grows – ouch!) what has KEPT me at home is that I have a modest income now from the blog I started 3 years ago – not nearly what I was making before I left the work force – and no med/dental – I didnt make anything when i started but we are really thankful that I did bc if I didnt have the income/products I get from blogging we would really need me to be working again since our oldest two are school aged – bc I blog I am able to home school – HUGE blessing!
I pretty much agree with what’s been said. I did this a few years ago when I worked as a teacher as well, but it was to home school our kids. I stocked away as much as we could with my paychecks and got anything fixed that would need to be.
One thing I wish I would have done sooner was check on home and car insurance- I did this after I was home and we switched to a company where we were now paying only 50% of what we were before. I wish I did it sooner as we could have saved that much for a year BEFORE I stayed home! =) So please look around!
Also, I am fine with going to consignment shops for myself and the kids- I bring in clothes and we get credit or we can get the cash out. Also, when stores put their seasonal clothing items on clearance for a great deal, we try to gauge the next size we need- it has worked out fine so far!
Another big one if you own a home look to refinance- if it makes sense for you to do- a lower APR. Good luck! =)
Totally agree with the tip to look into refinancing if you own a home. If you can find a lower APR than the one you currently have, then you can significantly reduce your monthly mortgage payment. We have refinanced a couple times over the past several years and we’ve saved hundreds of dollars each month by doing this.
Are you still cloth diapering your adult children too?
There’s a great book called Miserly moms that talks about this very subject and how the author went about doing it etc…. You should check it out. It’s worth the read.
I’m sure that this repeats most of the responses, but these are things we have found helpful.
1. Pay off all debt you can
2. Get a 6 month emergency fund
3. Live off of his income now- for as long as you can- before you quit. You can use your income to do # 1 & 2
4. Develop a budget. We do the 60% solution
5. Review EVERYTHING in the budget to see if you can get it lower. In the past year, we have changed our electricity plan, health insurance, cable and cell phone plans. You should look at every other monthly obligation you have as well and see if you can cut something. I’ve found just shopping around you may find you can get the same thing for less.
6. Make a 5 year plan, and talk about any big expenses you see coming up and how you will manage them.
7. When you do quit, consider your job to be a homemaker. That means you have a full time (or more job) doing homemaking work for your family. Use your time to look into other ways to save money or make do with what you have. This can be so rewarding, and is good for your kids as well.
Suzanne H says
1. Start with a line item budget – take a month or two to write down every single thing you spend $ on. Try to include expenses that don’t occur frequently as well (taxes, haircuts, auto insurance, etc.). For items that occur less than once a month, divide it into a monthly amount. For example, if you spend $1500 a year on auto insurance, that’s $125 a month. This will be a pain for awhile but it will give you a really clear idea of exactly how you spend your money and how much you need to get by each month. If your husband’s salary will cover your expenses then you can quit without worry. If not, you will need to find a way to compensate and/or cut back. 2. Stop spending your paychecks now! Force yourself to live off of your husband’s income now and see if you can do it comfortably. If not, again, you will have to compensate and/or cut back. Put your paychecks into an emergency fund so that when you do quit, you will have a cushion when an emergency arises (and they always do). Good luck with baby #2!
We made the switch by 1st learning to live off of my husband’s income alone. My income at the time until I had my child went to building up our emergency fund & savings fund. We strove to have 6 months of expenses saved in our emergency fund which has proved extremely helpful since we made the switch to me staying home. We also tried to save up for major expenses we knew would be in our near future (my husband is working on his PhD for example and so we wanted to save as much as we could for that expense) That was the biggest help to us in making the switch- we almost didn’t feel the “cut” at all because we had been living off my husband’s income for a few years before my son was born. As far as money saving tips, I would check out this blog daily for advice for a long time! (as I’m sure you’re already doing;-) ) & make whatever cuts neccessary to make me staying at home work. I hope you are able to stay at home with your lil’s!
Katie L says
The best way is to figure out what you’ll have to live off of when you’re a one-income family, and then work your way down to that before you leave your job. Stash the extra from your income into savings. If you’re planning to go down to one car but you need a second car as long as you’re working, practice using only one car except for your commute. Start cultivating relationships within walking distance of your home, if possible (play groups? libraries?) so you can avoid some of the loneliness that might happen when you transition to being home full-time.
Also, once you’ve had your second baby and gotten used to all of the changes, there are LOTS of opportunities for those in the teaching career field to earn extra money/get out of the house for a few hours per week. Everyone’s different, but for me, tutoring has been really helpful for my mental health. In every sense.
Amy R says
Find some kind of income source you can do from home. I started doing surveys for user testing.com in December, and I’m now averaging $150-$200 per week. It’s not much, but it makes for a great cushion. Don’t think that being a SAHM means you can’t contribute to your family’s finances. This site is testament to what a mom can do to help out financially. You have some kind of skill, put it to use from home.
Would you mind elaborating on your Usertesting.com experience? I’ve thought about signing up before, but heard from online reviews that you could only make about $100/month due to availability, etc.
Amy R says
Like I said, I started on user testing in the beginning of December. My goal was to earn $100 to be able to buy my hubby a Christmas gift without using his money. I did that easily. The more you work with them, the more opportunities come. Each survey pays $10 and usually takes 10-15 minutes. I have also now signed up as a mobile tester. If you have a smartphone, those surveys usually pay $15 instead of $10. They sent me the necessary camera for free. I don’t know if my experience is typical, but I am easily averaging $150 per week. I am at home all day, my computer is always up, open to that site, and I check for available surveys often. If one comes, I log into it, set my 2 year old up with a puzzle or video, and lock my door. I am usually done before he even realizes I’m gone. I do get email alerts when a survey is available, but usually by the time I see the email, the survey is gone. You have to catch them quick. That’s why I always accept the survey before I set my little guy up. Once you accept it, you have 15 minutes to start it before they re-release it. I also usually get a couple surveys at night. It’s not a big deal to step away from my hubby for 15 minutes to take it. A lot of time, he stays with me and just reads until I’m done.
Thanks so much for this info., Amy!
Yes, please expound, if you would. I’ve never heard of this site. Honestly, depending on the time it would take, I’d probably be willing to do it for the $100/month. 🙂
I belong to the site, but by the time I get the email alerts they are usually gone. Also the requirements are very specific. I made about $30 over the 6 months I’ve belonged. I don’t have a smartphone and can only do them when my husband is home at night as I have an 18 month old and 1 month old. Once I’m sleeping through the night I may try logging in during nap time and see if I can catch any then.
Tanya Goossen says
There’s lots of little things; less eating out, combine all your debt into one loan through a bank who will give you an amazingly low interest rate and pay off all the debt so you only have one loan, shop garage sales for clothes. It’s hard to know what ideas to offer when you don’t know how other people live lol. I’m a mother of 3; a 12-year-old who was diagnosed with Autism when he was 3, a 4-1/2-year-old and an almost 3 year old and i’m expecting my 4th and final baby in Aug. My husband works on the pipeline so he’s gone for weeks sometimes a month at a time. I do; however, have a direct sales company that I work online so that adds a little extra money but I just think if there’s a will there is a way! I wish you the BEST of luck!!
When you do quit your job, you should re-evaluate the withholding on your husband’s paycheck. We were able to adjust my husband’s by 2 or 3 when I quit my job which increased his take-home pay. No need to wait for a big tax refund when you could use that money each month to help make ends meet.
Peach State Pretties says
My tips would be :
* Save * -It really helps to have a “cushion” for unexpected situations, unemployment, & lay-offs. Especially if your spouse is not supportive of you staying home, a cushion really helps to show them that there is “support” set aside if needed.
* Slowly Spend* Learn to really think through each purchase and see how you could go improvise, go without it, get it cheaper, wait & save, or borrow it.
*Sell* Get rid of the stuff you don’t need via a yard sale, Ebay, Etsy, Craigslist, etc. I am always amazed at how much I make form yardsales from selling “junk”.
When I was pregnant with my first child I was a teacher. We knew I would be staying home with her once she was born, so we began putting away my salary and living off of my husband’s salary, since that’s the way it would be once she was born. We redid our budget based on his salary, not our combined salaries. That meant we stopped going out to eat, I planned meals, shopped what was on sale and planned my menus around that, instead of just buying what sounded good, and all of the other money saving tips you will read about on this blog. We shopped around for cheaper car insurance, home owners insurance, phone service, etc. every place we could cut, we did. Last year when my husband switched jobs and took a pay cut, we did the same things. Cutting everywhere we could. It’s hard, but it’s worth it to be able to stay home with our children, and for him to be happier in a work environment that is much happier and healthier for him.
karen b says
I like what everyone else is saying by starting now to just live on his paycheck. I would like to add to that & say when you are a sahm you wont be spending as much money anyway on clothes, convience & takeout foods, daycare, “extras”, etc………….. It will amaze you it did us:)
Stephanie @ Mrs. Debtfighter says
I agree! I remember my husband and I being in awe at how much extra money we had when we went down to one income six years ago (of course, that is when we started to actually think about our spending.)
5 years ago we decided for me to quit working full time ( I was pregnant) and and we were very scared. At the time I was the so called “bread winner”. I knew I would never get those moments back and we knew it would be worth it in the long run. I remember my sister in-law saying it will be scary but it CAN be done. I’m so glad we did and God provided for us. My husband got a raise and in the end made him feel better for being the sole provider for our family. God’s plan for the family does work, if we just let Him be in control 🙂 What a blessing it will be for your family.
This is so encouraging to hear Jodi. I love what you wrote, “God’s plan for the family does work, if we just let Him be in control 🙂
I so needed to hear that today.
Since we got married in September 2002, my DH and I prepared to live on one income in the assumption that we’d want that once children arrived.
Meanwhile, I earned a Masters degree and was enjoying working. Our first daughter arrived in October 2006. I loved the job I had in state government and returned to work. It was good, because my DH lost his job in August 2007, so with me working we still had an income and insurance.
We paid off my student loan debt in March of 2006 when we found out I was pregnant, then set off on paying down the mortgage.
We have only taken 1 vacation since we got married (no honeymoon either). We were a 1 car family until August 2008. No cable, no data plans, no i-anythings or smart phones, no designer anythings. We shop secondhand whenever possible. I coupon. Our home is an average house in an average neighborhood. I’m the family barber, chef, gardener. He’s the family handyman and mechanic.
Our second child was born in July 2010. I was seriously considering not going back, but then I experienced severe postpartum depression and just couldn’t make that type of decision so I returned to my job. I was totally miserable. My duties had changed and I was on a different project for two years and I hated it. I was doing useless things like changing fonts and colors in .pdfs. Not why I earned a Masters degree! Meanwhile, the cost of two kids in fulltime childcare was adding up to the point that it was 70% of my take-home pay. Our salaries were frozen. No opportunities for advancement and no way to change positions. I requested part time and got a reduced schedule. I used that 1 day off each week to start developing freelance writing and to “practice” being an at home mom. I looked into free local activities, scoped out parks and recreation programs and connected with other at home moms.
I developed my writing to the point where I was earning a decent stream of income and enjoying it. I had three clients. As I grew more miserable in my job and was bringing everyone else in the family down with me, it was time for a change. My DH agreed it was time for me to resign. I timed my resignation to make a point, as they were going to have me traveling out of state for a week to attend a pointless conference. I made sure my last day was the business day before that trip. I refused to be away from my children for that length of time. My babies, marriage and my mental health are worth more than what I was bringing home from that job.
Nobody was that surprised that I wanted to be home with my family. I didn’t burn any bridges on my way out and I “friended” many coworkers on facebook and stay in touch via email too.
I quit in September 2011. In March 2012 I got pregnant, unexpectedly… though I’m sure it was in God’s plan for us! My baby girl was born on Christmas Eve.
Now, paying for before & after school & summer camp for my 6yo, full time care for my 2.5 yo and full time care for a newborn would be more than what I took home when on full-time hours at that job. Even if I loved it, it would cost me money to work there.
I’m still doing the freelance writing. Last year I earned in the double digits! I write while my kids play next to me, nap or watch cartoons or when I get up before everyone else. I can do it at 2am on the couch in my jammies if I so desire. I can write as much or as little as I want. It’s perfect for me at this season of life. The income I earn is for those “extras”, which in our case is swimming lessons for the kids, Christmas and birthdays, my hobby supplies and my annual maximum Roth IRA contribution. I also choose some charities to give to since we aren’t church members. That has been to a local food pantry, a domestic violence shelter, a charity blanket project, my child’s PTO and to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
We live below our means and pay cash for what we need, which has most recently included a new minivan for our expanding family.
I coupon, stockpile and shop sales and use a meal plan.
Continue shopping secondhand, asking for hand me downs (and passing ours along to others too).
Eat out less than once per month.
Try to do things ourselves as long as we have the skill, equipment and knowledge.
Limit birthday and Christmas gifts and parties.
Budget for everything from clothes to veterinary care to groceries.
We do without a lot of things that others consider “necessary”. However, we do have high speed that allows me to do the freelancing and print coupons and read deal blogs and for my DH to occasionally work from home when the weather is bad or if someone is ill.
Comparison shop on insurance.
Take care with utility consumption.
Do preventive maintenance to avoid costlier problems.
Meal plan and eat reasonable portions. It’s a preventive health measure too!
Avoid unnecessary travel.
Take advantage of free local resources like parks, library, city parades for entertainment.
Ask for samples, not just the free lotion ones posted here but also at the doctor for medications, at the pediatrician for children’s pain reliever and for formula (my baby needs to be supplemented as a medical condition I have caused my milk supply to plummet despite Herculean efforts on my part to recover it). Most are more than happy to give a month’s worth of medicine or a few cans of formula at an office visit.
Swap with other moms. Find a mom you can pass along outgrown things back and forth or trade for other skills, like hand-me-downs for baking or babysitting or garden produce.
Stockpile at rockbottom prices. Share a warehouse membership with a neighbor or relative if it makes sense for you.
Use your time at home as a part-time job to save money, such as coupons, meal planning, gardening, mending, baking, making gifts instead of buying them.
Develop a side income that you can do without sacrificing family time. Occasionally watch another child if that suits you. Sell clutter on ebay. Open an Etsy store. Take a one shift a weekend job at Target and enjoy the employee discount. Learn skills like hair cutting and simple repairs to save money instead of paying someone else for those services.
Love all these ideas – thanks for sharing your story!
Go ahead right now and adjust you budget as if you were living on your husband’s income only and stash everything you make into an emergency savings fund. We went through something similar when we decided to start our family. It is tough to do, but you’ll be able to see if his income is really enough to support your family while you still have your income as a safety net.
Good luck! Staying home with your kids is the best thing, even if you have to make some supplemental income working from home. I’m a medical transcriptionist and am able to work from home to be with my baby and though it is tough some days, it is very worth it!
As everyone here has stated, make the budget and start to get used to living on one income. Then, see what can be eliminated from your budget. We went from 2 cars to 1. Some days that meant i dropped my hubby off at work and picked him up. Or, i stayed home during the day while he was at work. It saved us so much money!
Also, as your kids get older look at your gifts and abilities and see if there is a way to make money from home. I used to teach so when my kids became older i started doing daycare for 1 family. I can still keep my house somewhat clean, be home with my kids, cook healthy meals and make a little extra money doing daycare!
Bottom line is if you really want to be home, you can. It is all about priorities and choices.
Angi Schneider says
When we did this 17 years ago, we began bugeting and living on just my husband’s income. Then we used my income to pay down debt and increase our emergency fund. Because my husband was in seminary at the time and working as a waiter we also decided to sell our car that had a payment and become a one car family. We also moved from an apartment in a nicer area of town and rented a small house near the seminary. There have been some really tough times but now that my children are almost grown and leaving the home all of the financial sacrifices have been worth it.
I, too, was a teacher until we had our oldest child (now 6) and his 2 younger siblings. The biggest piece of advice that I can give is to start living now on just your husband’s income and save your paycheck. That way you can see if it is possible for you to live on one income and you’ll have savings started for those “unexpected” expenses that will come up.
Will you have a paid maternity leave from your job? Could you wait until that runs out to quit your job?
Heart and Haven says
Can you make a monthly budget work on just your husband’s income? If so, put ALL of your income until you stop working into an emergency fund. If not, figure out what’s preventing it. ie. credit cards, car loans, school loans, etc. – that needs to be paid off. Or what other expenses you need to cut in order to meet your goal.
Thredup.com is a great way to save on kids clothes. I found it helpful to find out what the exact cost per serving was for our favorite meals. Some that I thought were cost cutters had hidden expenses. It was an eye-opener. Now, when the budget is tight I can go to my cheaper meals for the menu plan. If you aren’t menu planning, you can start now. It is such a money-saver.
Can you live on his income only right now? If you can’t, you will need to make changes to make it work. Then filter all of your income into savings. You can do this! At some point, working can cost moms money after the cost of daycare, work clothes, and convenience food. I hope that you can make staying at home work for you!
well since you already have a 4 year old my advice may seem redundant if you already know them but ill share a few things ive been taught or figured out with my 22 month old!
1. stock up on diapers (and wipes) yesterday – i cant tell you how much of a comfort it has been to not worry about getting diapers when they arent on sale or a good deal. if you decide to cloth diaper, which we wernt able to since we didnt have a W/D, i know there are deals out there and maybe someone else can share. for disposables there are always deals to be found , some are better than others though. do not be afraid of generic brands, weve found walgreens and target diapers and wipes to be awesome.
2. if you didnt hold on to hand me downs, or if you end up having a little boy, search consignment sales and live for clearance. NEVER PAY FULL PRICE FOR CHILDRENS CLOTHING – to me at least, its just not worth it to spend $20 or more on something they will only wear a few months. I dont have alot of experience with thrift shops becasue ive found they end up being about the same price. If you can, try to buy ahead but stick to basics that work fro anytime of year (you never know when that growth spurt is going to hit. We got hit this year because our munchkin hadnt grown enough so we didnt have many cold weather clothes. luckily, we found some things on clearance with coupons that worked. ive also found, if you find something that your hubby loves, he will dress her in taht all the time. this has become my new barometer, becasue if he doesnt like it, then she will rarely get put in it and its a waste of money (unless im in love with it). even if it seems like he doesnt get munchkins dressed alot with tiny ones we all know they can go through a few outfits/changes a day and daddy ends up chooseing clothes more often that you would guess.
3. ask for family passes to local things for birthday/holiday gifts. it is really important to get out of the house at least every once in a while no matter how nice your home may be but it adds up very quickly! Is there a local zoo or childrens museum? aquarium? theme park even? I know we are lucky to live in the philadelphia area where we have access to Sesame Place, a billion museums, and a beautiful kid-friendly zoo but it can be very expensive to go for a day. Do a little research and be specific when/if people ask what your daughter or you would like for gifts. Even if no one is offering gifts, do some research because it can be literally a few dollars more to get a yearly pass than go for just one day. We figured out that for $4 more than one visit of my husband, my munchkin and I plus parking, we could get a year pass that included free admission, free parking, and a discount in the gift shops. Weve gone a bunch of times already, and even with the cold winter, well be able to use it again soon (I hope) and use it a bunch more times before it expires in July.
4. I know this has nothing to do with saving money but Ive found you (and your spouse) have to have time to yourself, by yourself. Do not be afraid to ask your husband to take a morning to let you sleep (and try to let him do the same from time to time), read, go fro a walk, or just breathe. When you are a SAHM it can very often become complete and utter focus on taking care of your children, forgetting that you need taking care of too (at least every once in a while). Dont forget to set aside time for you and your husband to spend together without the kids as well, even if its an hour at night after everyones asleep.
Well, now that ive written a book, I hope ive helped at least a little. Good luck!
Laura Jane @ Super Sweet Life says
I’m not a mom yet, but I recently quit my good, well-paying job to be a stay at home wife and work on my own little business. We basically pretended like we only had the one income (since we got married 3.5 years ago). This helped give us confidence that we’d be able to live on our on budget, prevented us from acquiring houses/cars/whatever or getting used to a lifestyle that we couldn’t maintain, and it allowed us to set us aside money in savings. If you’re able to life on the one income while working, you’ll be able to do it once you stop working and you’ll feel much more confident about the transition. Good luck!
If you plan on continuing to work up until the second baby comes, start stockpiling wipes, diapers, shampoo, toothpaste etc. Those really add up. You can also consider becoming a one car family. 😀 My husband and I have considered doing this, but because we live in a rural area it just isn’t going to work for us. Take advantage of any “energy” saving plans that your utility company offers. Here in AZ we have a “time of use plan” which means that certain times (on-peak) electricity is more expensive. So we do all of our cooking, bathing, laundry, etc on “off peak” hours which DRAMATICALLY helps. So that’s always something to look in to.
Also, start making things from scratch. My favorite thing to make from scratch is tortillas. They taste SOOOO much better than the store bought, and are healthier too! No added preservatives or lard 🙂
You can also venture out and make your own laundry soap. I make a powder soap and use the Purex crystals to give it more of a scent 😀
There are plenty of ways to save money! Good luck on your journey!
I shop CVS and Walgreens alot and roll my ECB’s and Register Rewards.. Stack store coupons with manufature coupons and get stuff for little to no money out of pocket.. Like hair care and shaving needs stuff.. Good luck
Kelly Hess says
I wrote a series on how we went from 2 incomes to one:
Jen @ Jen Spends says
Pretend you are already living on one income and save as much as you can. Once you are pregnant and feel comfortable shopping for the new baby, look for deals on any baby gear you might need as well as diapers and wipes so you can take advantage of the lowest prices. I’ve been finding amazing deals in clearance sections of various websites. I’ve managed to get a few things I needed for very cheap by combining coupon codes with sales on the Kohl’s website, and then using Kohl’s cash to buy even more. I’m stocking up on diapers and wipes now so that we don’t feel as much of a financial pinch once the baby arrives. Basically my strategy has always been to spend the money when times are good so that I’m not broke when times are lean.
My son is 4 1/2 and I’m due to have my second in three months. I’ve been a stay at home mom since my first son was born, but after so much time it’s almost like starting over again!
You and I are in similar situations (for lack of a better word). I have a 4 3/4 year-old and one due in three months. My first was a girl and this one’s a boy so we’re having to start over on some things simply due to gender. Luckily, I have a friend who had her kids in reverse gender order as we did, so I’ve given her my daughter’s old clothes and she’s giving me her son’s old clothes.
I have bought some large boxes of diapers when the deals were good. I look online – eBay or Cardpool for deals on gift cards to places like Babies R Us or Target so I can use the discounted gift cards with coupons to make the deal even better.
I just became a SAHM a month ago, so we’re still figuring out all the finances, but we’ve had the budget in place for a while now. I am SO excited to be at home with my daughter and will be so happy to meet my son in three months.
Jen @ Jen Spends says
How neat that we have so much in common! I’m having another boy, so fortunately I won’t need to worry too much about clothes. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy!
Marty B says
Start with figuring out how much you spend and put a budget together. Figure out what you won’t be spending any more because you are not working. I find I have a lot more time to make things from scratch or not feel like I need to pick up dinner now that I am home full time. We use less gas because we tend to stay home more. Some things that others do like buy all the latest stuff and new cars and phones all the time we don’t do. We are getting ready to switch from regular mobile phone service to one of the pay by the month ones which will save us a good amount of money. We no longer have a home phone or cable just internet and netflix. We refinanced our house and are saving over $100 a month and cut three years off our loan. You can do it with just a little bit of thinking outside the box.
Jessie (aka MoolaSavingMom) says
I began a SAHM to my oldest about 8 years ago- best decision EVER. We are now expecting out 4th! Pay off EVERY debt you possibly can. Live off your husbands salary and use yours to pay off debt and build a savings account. Realize that life will change. In some areas you will save money (no gas to work, no work clothes, lunch out) and in others they will go up (more electricity used at home all day, etc). Get rid of every non-necessary expense (extras on cell phones, etc). As time goes on you can always add them back if budget allows. Go through your monthly spending line by line. Cut out where you can and as I said pay off every debt you can – makes life SO much easier later on!
I would even say start buying the diapers, wipes, etc now while you have income and when the baby comes you won’t have to be out paying full price.
I totally agree with buying diapers and wipes now! When I had my twins, people would ask me what I needed. I always said diapers, and that along with going to a local pregnancy center that lets you watch parenting videos to get free diapers, I was stocked for the first year.
Also garage sale this summer for as many clothes as you can (you don’t find garage sale prices in the winter-time), if you didn’t save clothing from your first.
Laura at TenThingsFarm says
I suggest that you make a budget now on his income only. Learn to live on that and while you do, put ALL – and I mean every single solitary penny – of your income away for emergency fund, surprise expenses (I don’t mean like surprise parties, but things like your furnace going out) and begin practicing all the different things you will need to do when you quit your job. It will be harder now (because you are still working) but you can make meals ahead to save on eating out, you can plan menus to use every little bit of what you have on hand, you can cancel things like gym memberships and exercise at home, sell cars that have payments and buy something you can pay cash for.
You CAN do it, and it will be totally worth it!! I am home with our daughter most of the time – I do sub here and there at the library and I do special programs for them. I also work some from home, do swag bucks, and surveys, but those would be hard to add on while you’re still working. For now, I’d heartily recommend that you work and squirrel all that income away, then switch to those other little money makers once you’ve left your job.
Best to you!
This is exactly what I was going to say.
I worked as a teacher before I became a mom and put away all of my income the last year I taught. It really helped prepare us (with a safety net–I will readily admit that a couple of times that year we dipped into that money…but we knew that’s what we were doing) and having all of that money in savings has been really helpful when tight spots come up (a good part of it is still there and we’ve been on one-income for 5 years now).
I second that Jenny! We did the same thing. We also starting using cash for the expenses that can most readily be lowered if need be – for us that’s food, clothing, entertainment, and miscellany like toiletries. Cooking from scratch saves lots of money too.
Alison @ The Green Goddess Blog says
We did the exact same thing the last year I taught. We used my salary to pay off our car, pay off student loans, & pay for the medical expenses from the baby. It was the best thing we ever did & greatly reduced the amount of bills we had each month, which has made staying home much easier.
You will no doubt get lots of great responses here on the nitty gritty of saving money, but my suggestion is to go ahead and quit, learn to live on less NOW and give yourself time to work all that out before you are 9 months pregnant and having to also adjust to having two (which is a big change). Do it now, while you can make it an adventure, rather than later, when it’s dire and you have a new baby. You can do it!
Since you are a teacher, it might be wise to wait til May to quit.